Spotlight Theatre Shines Focus on Family Friendly Fare in 2022
Moline’s Spotlight Theatre (1800 7th Ave.) will lean into its niche as a premier family-friendly theater for 2022, as four of its five musicals are based on stories aimed at children.
“We love doing shows the whole family can come to,” Spotlight co-owner Sara Tubbs said Tuesday. “ ‘The Producers’ is geared more PG-13, but everything else is super family friendly. We have kids shows too; we will be announcing those fairly soon. We just think it’s great to bring your kids and experience theater together.”
After this fall’s “Little Shop of Horrors” and December’s “The Sound of Music,” the Spotlight is
scheduling the following shows in 2022:
- “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical” (Feb. 18-20, 25-27). Premiered in 2014 (and played on Broadway in 2019), with music and lyrics by Rob Rokicki and a book by Joe Tracz, it is based on the 2005 novel of the same nameby Rick Riordan. The musical follows Percy Jackson, a teenager who newly discovers that he is a demigod and goes on an epic quest to find Zeus‘ missing lightning bolt and prevent a war between the Greek gods.
- “Peter and the Starcatcher” (April 1-3, 8-10). Aplay with music based on the 2004 novel Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, it was adapted for the stage by Rick Elice. The play (which premiered in 2009 and played on Broadway in 2012) provides a backstory for the characters of Peter Pan, Mrs Darling, Tinker Bell and Hook.
- “Tuck Everlasting” (June 3-5, 10-12). This 2016musical is based upon the American children’s novel Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. It features music by Chris Miller, lyrics by Nathan Tysen and a book by Claudia Shear and Tim Federle, with direction and choreography by Casey Nicholaw.
- “The Producers” (Sept. 28-30, Oct. 7-9). With music and lyrics by Mel Brooks, and a book by Brooks and Thomas Meehan, it’s adapted from Brooks’s 1967 film of the same name. The story concerns two theatrical producers who scheme to get rich by fraudulently overselling interests in a Broadway Complications arise when the show unexpectedly turns out to be successful. The humor of the show draws on ridiculous accents, caricatures of gaypeople and Nazis, and show business in-jokes. The Broadway production, starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, ran for 2,502 performances, and won a record-breaking 12 Tony Awards.
- “A Christmas Story: The Musical” (Dec. 2-4, 9-11). Premiered on Broadway in 2012, this is a musical version of the 1983 film A Christmas Story, with music and lyrics by Pasek & Pauland the book by Joseph Robinette. The musical takes place in the 1940s in Indiana and focuses on a child named Ralphie, who wants a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas.
The Spotlight decided for a clean slate in ’22, and not bring back some shows it had to cancel in 2020, including “Oliver,” “Tarzan” and
“Evita,” which will come back in the future.
“We just wanted to give a little breather,” Sara Tubbs said. “When we decide to do those shows again, we’re going to have new auditions.”
Her husband, Brent (theater co-owner), said some cast members from the 2020 shows (like the boy who was to be Oliver), couldn’t do them for 2022, so it makes sense to re-cast them. “Even a lot of the kids we knew in ‘Oliver’ last year, have hit their growth spurt,” he said. He is excited to do the local premiere for “The Lightning Thief,” since its rights recently became available.
“It’s super fun, based on the books,” Brent said. “Hopefully there’s a large following.”
“We love the story, we love the music,” Sara said. Of “Tuck Everlasting,” she said: “It’s beautiful music, a really sweet story. We really wanted all of our shows to be uplifting next year. We thought of doing some really fun, magical, uplifting stories.”
Those interested in working on directing staffs for the 2022 shows should send their resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org. “Little Shop of Horrors” is to take the stage Sept. 24-Oct. 3, 2021, and auditions for the classic “Sound of Music” (Dec. 3-12) will be held Aug. 21.
Tubbs & Moss expand to big band Saturday
Sara Tubbs also is looking forward to Saturday, July 17, when the Spotlight’s “Tubbs & Moss: A Vintage Jazz Experience” expands to a big
band on the main stage, rather than its usual monthly spot in the theater’s Blueprint Bar & Lounge. From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., she will sing standards with pianist Mason Moss, who did the arrangements with the following band –
- Trumpet — Ben McKay
- Saxophone — “Nervous” Neal Smith
- Trombone — Nick Alt
- Drums — Richard “Tumbleweed” Vought
- Bass — Jon Moss
The Green Room Bakery will be providing delicious deserts for sale, with a complimentary macaron for VIP ticket-holders. VIP tickets also include candlelit table seating on the floor. The bar will have drinks for sale.
“We’re excited; this is the first time I have ever sung in a band,” Sara said Tuesday. “I have been loving it. It’s so fun, the energy you feel in the band. You do a song, and it’s different every single time, improvising on the spot.”
“We thought it would be so fun to do a big band concert,” she said. “We’re normally in the bar, super casual. We wanted to have a whole band on stage. We do like to have people get up and dance.”
Tubbs & Moss will be back in the Blueprint for August, and possibly next do the big band for December. Tickets for Saturday are $20 for general admission and $25 for VIP seating at tables. The VIP sales close on July 16 and you can reserve tickets at www.thespotlighttheatreqc.com/jazz-lounge.